In a surprise announcement, Stephen Peach today (Feb. 22) revealed he is to step down as chief executive officer of Australian labels association ARIA and the PPCA collecting society.
For the past eight years, Peach has held arguably the toughest assignment in the Australian record industry, as CEO of ARIA. He joined ARIA and the PPCA in 2002, and will stay on board until this August to ensure a smooth transition for his successor.
During his time at the frontline, Peach has developed a reputation as a tireless campaigner for the Australian industry, and has mounted multiple battles of late on behalf of the PPCA's members. With Peach at the helm, the PPCA emerged victorious from a 2007 Copyright Tribunal battle over the tariff paid by Australia's nightclubs sector. Just last week, the PPCA launched a constitutional case in the High Court in an attempt to raise the rate the commercial radio sector pays for the recordings it broadcasts.
In a statement issued today, ARIA chairman and Warner Music Australasia president and CEO Ed St John, said Peach "has fought the good fight across a number of very different battlefronts - building the ARIA Awards to the major national event that it is today; increasing the thrust and visibility of the ARIA charts; lobbying the federal government on key issues; helping to establish the ARIA Hall of Fame; securing corporate funding and media partners for ARIA and its many properties."
Alongside St John and Mark Pope, Peach has played a crucial role in the organization of the annual ARIA Awards and the ARIA Hall of Fame ceremony.
A specialist in intellectual property rights and entertainment law, Peach served as partner with Sydney law firm Gilbert & Tobin for seven years prior to taking the high profile ARIA and PPCA roles. Peach had been principal lawyer for both music organizations. Peach is keeping his options wide open. "I have no idea what is next," he tells Billboard.biz.